Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 14, Part II, 19 January 1996


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This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of
the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
HOLBROOKE WARNS "NO MODIFICATIONS" TO DAYTON AGREEMENT. U. S. envoy
Richard Holbrooke returned to the former Yugoslavia on 18 January for
separate meetings with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and his
Serbian counterpart, Slobodan Milosevic. The BBC said the next day that
Holbrooke's main aim was to urge Izetbegovic to make sure that the
prisoner exchange is carried out as scheduled. Oslobodjenje the next day
quoted Holbrooke as saying there will be "no modifications" to the
Dayton treaty. The Bosnian government has been linking the prisoner
exchanges to accounting for the fate of missing persons, which
representatives of the international community say is not compatible
with the Dayton text. Meanwhile, Carl Bildt told TV Pale on 18 January
that Sarajevo's Serbs should stay on. He pointed out that a multiethnic
society was possible before the war and that "what was possible in the
past should be possible in the future." -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN NATIONALIST PARTY MEDIATES IN BLACK SEA KIDNAPPING CRISIS. The
Ukrainian extreme nationalist party UNA-UNSO is negotiating with the
Chechen military to help secure the release of Ukrainian hostages aboard
the Eurasia. UNIAN reported on 18 January. Foreign Minister Hennadii
Udovenko confirmed that the terrorists were willing to allow UNA-UNSO to
mediate in negotiations on Ukrainian hostages. UNA-UNSO has been highly
supportive of Dzhoker Dudayev in his campaign against Russia. -- Ustina
Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Following meetings with
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kuchma said problems over the
division of the Black Sea Fleet have been more or less solved and the
fleet will be given the status of Russia's fleet stationed on Ukrainian
territory, Ukrainian Radio reported on 17 January. ITAR-TASS the next
day reported that Kuchma said he opposes any "revolutionary enlargement
of NATO." He also stressed that the recent increase in tariffs on
Russian oil transports through Ukrainian pipelines was not a political
matter but strictly an economic one. Finally, the president announced
that Yeltsin will come to Ukraine in the second half of March to sign
the Russian-Ukrainian treaty on friendship and cooperation. -- Ustina
Markus

DRAFT UKRAINIAN BUDGET SLASHES SPENDING ON EDUCATION, RESEARCH.
Ukrainian lawmakers are debating provisions in the 1996 draft budget for
deep cuts in spending on education, scientific research, health, and
social welfare programs, Ukrainian Radio reported 17 January. The
current draft slashes expenditures on research from 1.7% to 0.076% of
GDP and from 10% to 6.5% of GDP on education. The allocation for the
country's school system would not be sufficient to cover teachers' wages
and student stipends. The Ukrainian government still owes trillions of
karbovantsi in back wages and stipends since autumn. The draft budget
also foresees a 4% cut in social spending and would finance only 31% of
the basic needs of Ukraine's state-run health care system. The
government has said the cuts are necessary in order to lower the budget
deficit to 6% of GDP this year. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

IMF WITHHOLDS FOURTH TRANCHE OF STAND-BY LOAN FROM UKRAINE. The release
of the fourth tranche of the IMF's stand-by credit to Ukraine has been
delayed until February or March, Ukrainian radio reported on 17 January.
The credit should have been released in January, but the IMF and World
Bank have said that Ukraine is not making enough progress in its
structural economic reforms or in privatization. -- Ustina Markus

CAUCUSES IN NEW BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT. The largest caucus in the
Belarusian parliament is the Accord caucus (59 deputies), Belarusian
Radio reported on 17 January. It is followed by the Agrarian caucus (47)
and the Communist caucus (44). Two smallest caucuses are the Social-
Democrats (15) and the Civic Action caucus (18). Five deputies have not
aligned themselves with any group. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC PRESIDENTS IN GERMANY. Presidents Lennart Meri of Estonia, Guntis
Ulmanis of Latvia, and Algirdas Brazauskas of Lithuania on 18 January in
Kiel addressed a symposium on the integration of the Baltic Sea region
with the rest of Europe, Baltic media reported. They also met with their
German counterpart, Roman Herzog, and Prime Minister of Schleswig-
Holstein Heide Simonis. -- Saulius Girnius

VISA FREE TRAVEL TO FINLAND FOR ESTONIANS. Finnish Prime Minister Paavo
Lipponen told Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi on 18 January in Tallinn
that visa-free travel between the two countries would begin next year if
Estonia fulfilled some technical conditions, ETA reported. Vahi
confirmed that Estonia would introduce passports with security codes in
March and improve technology for border controls. Lipponen reaffirmed
his country's support for the Baltic States' EU membership as a way to
increase their security. Vahi noted that there are Finnish investments
in 6,000 companies in Estonia and that Estonia did not intend to place
any limitations on the free movement of goods this year. -- Saulius
Girnius

PRESSURE ON LITHUANIAN PREMIER CONTINUES. Adolfas Slezevicius told a
press conference on 18 January that his adviser Juozas Palionis withdrew
money from his account in the Joint-Stock Innovation Bank on 18 December
without his written authorization, Radio Lithuania reported. He said he
thought that this information was sufficient to stop the filing of
criminal charges against him. Slezevicius also refused to comment on
efforts to fire Interior Minister Romasis Vaitekunas. President Algirdas
Brazauskas asked Vaitekunas to resign, but the ruling Democratic Labor
Party faction wanted him to remain in office. Sixty-five members of the
opposition sent an open letter to Brazauskas that day supporting his
position on the minister. His future is unclear, since 71 votes in the
parliament are needed to oust him, -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO BRUSSELS. Aleksander Kwasniewski,
following his visit to NATO headquarters, spoke to the EU commission on
18 January. He said that Poland hopes to open negotiations next year for
membership in the EU and to join by the end of the century. "Poland has
already met a great majority of the criteria for membership in the
union," Kwasniewski said. He also met with Belgian King Albert and
Premier Jean-Luc Dehaene, Polish and international media reported. --
Jakub Karpinski

DECISION ON INVESTIGATION INTO OLEKSY AFFAIR TO BE TAKEN NEXT WEEK. Col.
Andrzej Komarnicki, head of Warsaw's military prosecutor's office, on 18
January said the prosecutors will decide next week whether to launch a
formal investigation into espionage allegations against Prime Minister
Jozef Oleksy, Polish dailies reported the next day. Oleksy has hinted he
may stand down if the prosecutors decided evidence offered by the
security service was sound enough to warrant an investigation. President
Kwasniewski, following his returning from Brussels on 18 January, said
parliamentary elections may be needed to resolve the political crisis
over the allegations. He said that only the parliament can decide if
elections should be held before 1997. -- Jakub Karpinski

KINKEL ADMITS CZECH-GERMAN TALKS BOGGED DOWN. German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on
18 January that talks aimed at Czech-German reconciliation are
"disastrously bogged down," Reuters reported. Following the failure of
Kinkel and his Czech counterpart, Josef Zieleniec, to draft a joint
declaration on bilateral relations, the Czech foreign minister said
Germany was raising new demands (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15 and 17
January 1996). Kinkel said in another interview he has to represent
Sudeten German interests in the negotiations, and he again called on
Prague to distance itself "morally" from the so-called Benes decrees,
under which ethnic Germans were expelled from postwar Czechoslovakia.
Zieleniec declined to comment on Kinkel's latest statements, Czech
dailies reported on 19 January. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAKIA WILL NOT ASK AUSTRIA TO EXTRADITE PRESIDENT'S SON. Slovak
Prosecutor General Michal Valo told CTK on 18 January that he will not
ask for the extradition of Michal Kovac Jr, who was kidnapped in August,
dumped in Vienna, and jailed there on fraud charges. Explaining that
extradition can be requested only if a Slovak court issues a warrant,
Valo said that "neither the investigator nor the prosecutor sees a
reason to imprison Kovac Jr." Valo denied speculation that two
investigators were taken off the case because they suspected the Slovak
Information Service was involved. In other news, SIS director Ivan Lexa
on 18 January filed charges against Sme editor Peter Toth over an
interview with former Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner published the
previous day. Pittner had answered questions concerning SIS operations
and leadership. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ON LANGUAGE LAW. Presidential spokesman Vladimir Stefko
on 18 January said that if the implementation of the state language law
leads to any infringements of minority rights, Michal Kovac will ask the
Constitutional Court to decide whether the law is constitutional. The
statement was made after a meeting between Kovac and representatives of
ethnic Hungarian parties. Discussions focused on the language law,
prospects for ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty, and a
territorial arrangement bill, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher

ROMANI SPOKESMAN CRITICIZES HUNGARIAN MINORITIES LAW. Farkas Florian,
chairman of the nationwide Romani self-government in Hungary, has
sharply criticized the Law on Minorities, CTK and MTI reported on 17
January. Florian said the law does not allow the direct election of
minority representatives to the parliament, and he expressed surprise
that the Council of Europe has praised the law as a model for all
Europe. According to Farkas, CE Deputy Secretary-General Peter Leuprecht
has said Roma could be represented in the Council as an ethnic
nationality if they formed a legitimate all-European organization. --
Alaina Lemon

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MORE MASS GRAVES IN BOSNIA. Bosnian TV on 18 January reported that new
mass graves have been found near Sanski Most and Vozuca. The victims
appear to have been Muslims killed by the Serbs since 1992, but the
exact number is unclear and there has been no independent confirmation
of the reports, AFP noted. Also in Vozuca in central Bosnia, refugees
from Srebrenica have staged a protest about their food and living
conditions, Oslobodjenje wrote on 19 January. The Sarajevo daily also
said that the governing Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has launched
preparations for Muslims to vote in this year's elections in areas from
which they were "ethnically cleansed." SDA spokesmen said that some 380
Muslim families were ready to return to Srebrenica. -- Patrick Moore

BRITISH TROOPS SEAL OFF MUJAHIDIN. Following an armed incident with
Canadian soldiers on 18 January, 100 British IFOR troops with armored
personnel carriers set up an "overwatch" on 100 foreign mujahidin
fighters in a school near Bihac. The men should have left Bosnia earlier
in the week in keeping with the terms of the Dayton agreement on the
evacuation of foreign soldiers. Their departure has been held up because
of problems with the Croatian authorities in determining transit
arrangements. The muhajidin, one of the more controversial elements in
the conflict, have included native Bosnian Muslims in addition to
foreigners. Such Bosnians, as well as foreigners who have acquired
Bosnian citizenship, have the right to stay but the Bosnian government
is responsible for controlling them. IFOR has tried to play down the
idea that muhajidin could be a potential problem. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIA LIFTS LIMITS ON RETURN OF SERBIAN REFUGEES. The Sabor voted on
17 January to change an earlier decision that required Serbs who fled
Croatia last year to reclaim their property within a three-month limit.
The new measure says that the issue will be regulated by a future
agreement between Zagreb and Belgrade, Nasa Borba reported on 19
January. The paper also noted that representatives of the Croats in
Vojvodina point out that rump Yugoslavia has yet to clarify the status
of its Croatian population. -- Patrick Moore

PROGRESS IN OSCE TALKS ON CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES. Istvan Gyarmati,
the OSCE official chairing talks on confidence-building measures, on 18
January said the Muslim-Croatian federation and the Bosnian Serbs have
exchanged lists of weapons and arms sites, Reuters reported. The Bosnian
Serbs had failed to provide the list earlier in the week, citing
"technical reasons." Meanwhile, Robert Frowick, head of the OSCE mission
to Bosnia, said in Vienna on 18 January that registering Bosnian voters
is a "staggering problem," international media reported. The task is
complicated by the numbers of refugees, estimated at 2 million, and the
"hundreds and thousands of displaced people." -- Michael Mihalka

SERBIAN RADICALS ON PROPOSED AMNESTY. Serbian Radical Party (SRS) leader
Vojislav Seselj on 18 January said his party will "not run away from
discussions" about the issue of granting an amnesty to individuals who
evaded serving in the wars throughout former Yugoslavia. But he noted
that the SRS will oppose legislation that offers only a "partial"
amnesty, noting that any serious proposal should include a pardon for
"even those who stole something just to be able to feed their children."
Seselj also claimed that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had been
pressured by the international community to support an amnesty for draft
evaders. -- Stan Markotich

MORE MONTENGRIN AID TO HERZEGOVINIAN SERBS. Montena-fax on 17 January
reported that Montenegro's aid efforts to Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina
continued that day with the arrival in Trebinje of some 250 tons of food
products. The Montenegrin government launched the aid program earlier
this month. Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic was in Nevesinje on 13
January to witness the arrival of a humanitarian aid shipment to the
Herzegovinian town. Of the 20,000 people living there, half are Serbian
refugees. -- Stan Markotich

NEW DETAILS ABOUT ATTEMPT ON MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT'S LIFE. The Macedonian
Interior Ministry on 18 January revealed new details about the attempt
on the life of Kiro Gligorov in October 1995, Nova Makedonija reported.
The force of the explosives used in the attack was much greater than
initially estimated, and some 4.5-7 kg were used laced with small metal
parts. A ministry spokesman said the Citroen Ami used as a car bomb was
driven by a woman and was coincidentally photographed by a German
tourist the previous day. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER BLASTS OSCE OFFICIAL. Gheorghe Funar, leader
of the Party of Romanian National Unity, on 18 January sharply
criticized OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der
Stoel, who is currently in Romania to discuss concerns about ethnic
minorities, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest reported. Funar
described Van der Stoel as "a ghost walking freely in Bucharest, scaring
the citizens." He called on the Romanian government to declare him
persona non grata. The OSCE official has met with President Ion Iliescu,
other Romanian officials, and leaders of the country's large Hungarian
minority. -- Dan Ionescu

DNIESTER CONSTITUTION PROMULGATED. Igor Smirnov, president of the self-
proclaimed Dniester republic, on 17 January signed the region's new
constitution, Infotag reported. The constitution, adopted by referendum
on 24 December, proclaims the Dniester region a sovereign and
independent state. Also on 17 January, the newly elected Supreme Soviet
held its inaugural session in Tiraspol. The deputies re-elected Grigorii
Marakutsa as parliamentary chairman by a vote of 49 to 14. Marakutsa is
regarded as a relatively moderate leader who is prepared to continue the
dialogue with the Moldovan authorities. Vasilii Yakovlev--leader of the
Bloc of Patriotic Left-Wing Forces, which that opposes any rapprochement
with Chisinau--received only six votes. According to BASA-press, Smirnov
the same day dismissed Yakovlev as rector of Tiraspol University. -- Dan
Ionescu

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION LEADER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT? 24 chasa on 19 January
reports that Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Chairman Ivan Kostov will
most likely be nominated presidential candidate at the SDS National
Conference in March. He is likely to run against incumbent President
Zhelyu Zhelev and an as-yet unnamed candidate from the ruling Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP). The most likely candidates are Parliamentary
Chairman Blagovest Sendov and Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski. Zhelev
is trying to secure support from all opposition forces including the
SDS, but many high-ranking SDS members have made it clear that the union
will not support him. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN JUDGES TO RECEIVE POLICE PROTECTION. All Albanian chief
justices are to receive police protection following attacks on judges
throughout the country, international agencies and the daily Albania
reported on 18 January. Some 45 judges will receive bodyguards following
a bomb attack on the home of the Kukes district court chief judge on 17
January and an attack earlier this month on the chief of the Tirana
district court (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 January 1995). No one was
injured in either attack. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN COMMISSION DISCUSSES BORDER REGULATIONS. Albanian
and Macedonian officials held talks in Pogradec on easing border
traffic, Koha Jone reports on 19 January. Both sides presented and
discussed draft agreements on visa requirements; in particular, they
focused on visa fees and the abolition of visas for diplomats. Albanian
Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi is expected to visit Macedonia soon. --
Fabian Schmidt

NEW GREEK PREMIER ELECTED. The ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement
(PASOK) on 18 January chose former Industry Minister Kostas Simis to
head the next Greek government, Greek Radio reported. In the second
round of voting, Simitis received 86 out of 167 votes and Interior
Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos 75. Six deputies cast blank ballots.
Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, who had been expected to advance to
the second round, came third in the first round. Following his election,
Simitis promised continuity but also stressed "the need for new ideas
and a change in the way of governing." President Kostis Stephanopoulos
has mandated Simitis to form a new government, which is expected to be
sworn in on 22 January. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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